Activity And Project

Have You Seen the Movie Yet?

6 - 8
Activity Time
2 to 4 hours, depending upon the number of strategies used to evaluate and create scenes (can be completed over several days)
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Activity Description

Book-to-film adaptations provide great ways for children to explore their favorite books in new ways. Before seeing a Harry Potter movie (or any other film based on a book, classic or contemporary), children can learn about filmmaking and create their own scenes based on their favorite moments from the book.

Why This Is Helpful

Reading a favorite book to find the most important or most interesting parts helps children learn the difference between the details and the heart of the story. This kind of analysis brings the story closer to the reader and helps children remember the story more clearly. When children make decisions about how scenes from the book might translate onto the movie screen, they have ownership of the story and will notice new aspects of the book and the movie because of what they have learned about filmmaking.

This activity was modified from the ReadWriteThink lesson plans "You Know the Movie Is Coming-Now What?" available online at, and "Literature Circle Roles Reframed: Reading as a Film Crew" available online at

What You Need

Here's What To Do

  1. Before beginning this activity, read a Harry Potter book (or any other book with a film adaptation, see list of possible pairings) together if you have not read it previously or reacquaint yourselves with the novel by skimming through the chapters.
  2. Discuss the movie, using these questions as a guide:
    • What do you most look forward to?
    • What scene do you think must be included in the movie?
    • What are you afraid the director may leave out?
    • What scenes do you think can be left out without affecting the plot?
  3. Go over the Film Terms Handout together. If you would like to explore examples of some of the terms, visit the Official Harry Potter Web Site and view the trailer of a Harry Potter movie. Together, identify the film effects from the handout that are used in the trailer.  Trailers for many other, but not all, films are available online.  Consult the Internet Movie Database Trailer Gallery to search for the movie you've chosen.
  4. Have the child choose a favorite chapter from the book, and print the Bookmark Template. On the front of the bookmark, ask the child to write the title of the book and the author. The remaining space can be used to draw the book cover or to recreate a favorite scene.
  5. Explain that the child will read a favorite chapter carefully while thinking about which parts should be turned into movie scenes. Have the child use the back of the Bookmark Template to keep track of page numbers, the film effects that might be used, and a brief description of the passages from the book. (Use the Example Bookmark from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a model if you'd like.)
  6. Invite the child to share her or his finished bookmark with you and to discuss how the main events from the chapter might be turned into movie scenes.
  7. Leading up to watching the movie in theaters or at home, children can use new strategies to bring to life scenes from each of the chapters in the book you and the child read.

More Ideas To Try

  • Review the Roles of a Film Crew Handout. Ask the child which role(s) he or she would like to play in order to bring to life the most important scenes from the chapter. Use the following guidelines:

    • If playing the role of Storyboard Artist, the child can use the Doodle Splash, Flip Book, Comic Creator, or art supplies to design scenes.
    • Production Designer can cut out images from magazines that capture the setting and costumes as described in the story and arrange them on paper to create a scene.
    • Casting Director can use art supplies to create pictures of the characters according to the ways they are described in the chapter.
    • Sound Designer/Music Composer chooses songs that will fit into the scenes of this chapter and design a soundtrack cover using the CD/DVD Cover Creator. See the CD/DVD Cover Creator Tool page for information on using this tool.   
  • Once the child is satisfied with his or her portrayal of scenes from the book, encourage him or her to share the production with you and others.

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